|Volume 22 Number 2 February 2020||
To believe in something or someone is to put full confidence in that object or person. It is to develop a sense of trust that prompts such confidence.
This confidence is a regular part of life. We cannot function without it. The farmer plants seed with faith that the seed will produce a crop worthy of his efforts. Rocket scientists concentrate on mathematical formulae, expecting such computations to succeed into translating a theory into the action of rocket “flight.” Those who ride the rockets trust the scientists, engineers, mathematicians, builders and inventors who put it all together to get them safely into space and back to earth again. The new mother trusts the baby formula she buys, the customer his bank, a patient his doctor, the citizen his government and so on.
This trust is necessary precisely because we cannot see the processes involved to accomplish what we need. So, we hear the testimony, examine the evidence in relation to past success and draw conclusions on whether the benefit of such trust is warranted. We do this knowing that accidents happen, nobody’s perfect, information is limited, and results cannot be totally guaranteed.
All of this makes it rather ridiculous, then, to fail to believe in the Lord. With the Bible as His testimony and nature as His demonstration, faith in God is the only rational conclusion to draw. To call such faith a “leap in the dark,” which we would rather not make, reveals a prejudice against the Lord that is without reason or excuse (Romans 1:20).
We should believe in God because all around us and within us demands we trust the Ultimate Reason for all that is here. Design, purpose, conscience and caring all point to One Who orchestrated it all, to our benefit (for it to be otherwise is an immeasurable waste, contradicting existence itself).
God being invisible to us is not a real problem, for the whole point of faith is to understand in real terms what we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). The answer to doubt is to be open to the evidence, honestly consider its implications and then to embrace the conclusions that reason demands.
Joshua called upon the people to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV). The people said they would not forsake the Lord and serve other gods, but Joshua further warned them, “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good” (vs. 20). As then, even today, we have to choose whom we will serve in all things religious. We must decide if we will do things according to God’s instructions or if we will choose to be like the world and do it the way we want to and not the way God said. Everyone who knows the Word of God understands the importance of putting God first always.
In Moses’ later years, God sent him to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses didn’t go willingly at first. In Exodus chapters 3-4, Moses made several excuses for his unwillingness to choose God: (1) “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). (2) “…when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). (3) “…suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice…” (Exodus 4:1). From the pages of the Holy scriptures, we know that Moses chose to serve God and set a great example for God’s followers of all time. In the Faith Chapter of the New Testament, we read that “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24-25).
In New Testament times, the apostle Paul is another fitting example of choosing whom to serve. Paul was a Hebrew and was trained in the Scriptures by Gamaliel, who was one of the most learned rabbis of the day. Paul was converted to Christianity when he was on the road to Damascus, where he was planning to persecute Christians. Jesus came to him and said, “Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). He asked the Lord what He wanted him to do, and Jesus gave him instructions. Our Lord, further, told Ananias that Paul “…is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). You’ve heard of turnarounds; this is a real one! There are many other instances in God’s Word that tell us of brave people who chose to serve God and did so faithfully even to death. They are such an inspiration and are such a boost to our own faith. In the Scriptures, we even have an example of Thomas who was one of the twelve and refused to believe the testimony of others regarding the resurrection of Jesus. He said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). We know that Jesus came to Thomas, whereupon he did a complete about-face. He chose to believe and serve Jesus.
Everyone is faced with making choices. Children choose whether to obey their parents or to be punished for not doing so. As young adults, we choose our companions and, eventually, our mates. We must choose vocations that will give us what is needed to sustain daily living. No matter what other choices we have to make, we will never make one as important as the one to “follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). As we used to tell our children, make good choices!